Legal threat from Linnets
King's Lynn majority shareholder Michael Chinn yesterday threatened the FA with legal action over the club's ground grading crisis.Chinn has instructed top London law firm Blackstone Chambers to act on the Linnets behalf to contest the Conference's decision to demote his Blue Square North club.
King's Lynn majority shareholder Michael Chinn yesterday threatened the FA with legal action over the club's ground grading crisis.
Chinn has instructed top London law firm Blackstone Chambers to act on the Linnets behalf to contest the Conference's decision to demote his Blue Square North club.
Lynn yesterday lodged their appeal which is expected to be heard next month at Soho Square but Chinn confirmed his solicitors have also written to the FA chief executive.
Chinn withdrew his major financial backing earlier this season but the businessman - who still owns more than 40pc of the club - has assured chairman Ken Bobbins he will provide a legal fighting fund should Lynn's FA appeal fail.
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"If we don't get justice then we will challenge the Conference and the FA in court because this is grass roots football and I don't feel we are getting any help," he said. "We will still go down the appeal process but in reality how many have been over turned by the Conference over the past few years? If it fails I will take it a lot further, there is no doubt about it. I have the funds and I have the means to do it.
"I haven't spent �180,000 over the last two years trying to build the club up to, in effect, be bullied by the authorities and send us down a league because we fail their ground criteria. I am not prepared to see that money go down the drain."
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Chinn has employed the same firm who successfully helped Conference Premier outfit Crawley overturn a four point league penalty in February for fielding an ineligible player.
The Reds' punishment was reduced to one point on appeal following a Soho Square hearing led by top barrister Adam Lewis.
Chinn is confident Lynn have a strong case after the Conference's decision to expel the club for failing to undertake a �250,000 upgrade to their council-owned Walks Stadium.
Conference South promotion chasers Hampton & Richmond were allowed to take their place in the play-offs this week despite failing to secure council planning permission and funding to build permanent terraced seating that meets the league's stringent grading rules.
"We feel double standards are at work here," said Chinn. "If you look at the Hampton case then their council has given a guarantee any work would be undertaken, yet why is the same not good enough for King's Lynn and the borough council here?
"The money is in place and the work will be completed. To me, it's the same as going to someone who owes you money and saying you have 90 days to pay and going to someone else and saying you only have seven days."
An FA spokesman refused to comment on Lynn's legal threat ahead of any possible appeal process. He said: "This is at present a matter being dealt with internally by the Football Conference. At this moment and until there is an appeal process initiated we wouldn't be likely to comment further."
Chinn insists league officials were fully aware the club would not meet an April 1 deadline regarding the �250,000 upgrade.
"At no point did they say we would be demoted if the work did not commence by that date. If they had we would've gone out and stuck a shovel in the ground but the reality is that wasn't possible.
"When you are in the Conference you have to provide certain amenities. How could we have provided those during the season? Aside from that, the council own the stadium and they would not let us onto the site if work is being undertaken. Go back to when we fitted the new Main Stand roof a year or two ago. That was a similar scenario when the club basically wasn't allowed on site during those summer months."
Lynn's majority shareholder also hinted he had not ruled out a possible boardroom return if Lynn successfully remain in the Conference set-up.
"I have been speaking to the chairman about coming back but at this stage I don't know," said Chinn. "Certain aspects of the club would have to change. I don't want to hear people saying they will do this or that and then it doesn't get done. Just do it. I have looked at two or three other clubs but I really do still feel that King's Lynn FC can go somewhere and by that I mean the Football League."
Chinn has also backed chairman Bobbins after stiff criticism in certain quarters for his role over the handling of the ground grading crisis.
"I feel sorry for Ken because he is getting a lot of flak," said Chinn. "If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have joined the club in the first place. Let me tell you, he works tirelessly behind the scenes and is fully supportive of what I want to do. Basically I have given him my guarantee that whatever it costs to fund this legal action in terms of barristers and so on I will fund that and take the Conference all the way."